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What is the Mayan language? History and Characteristics


The bond that unites the present with the past

What is the Mayan language?

Did you know that the Mayan language is one of the oldest in Mexico? According to the data, there are currently more than 800,000 inhabitants who still speak and preserve the richness of their language. The entire Mayan language is made up of 31 different languages ​​and only two of them are considered dead.

The two languages ​​they consider dead are Chicomucelteco and Cholti, while the other 29 languages ​​remain a form of communication between communities that share Mayan culture as a heritage.


In Mexico, the Mayan language is in states like Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Logwood, Yucatan, Tabasco, as well as some variants in Veracruz and Potosí San Luis. It is also found in countries such as Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

All these dialects can be grouped into five subfamilies:

Ch’ol – tzotzil

Ch’ol, Chontal de Tabasco, Chorti, Tzetzal and Tzotzil.


Chicomucelteco and huasteco


Itzá, Lacandón, Maya Mopán and Maya Yucateco

Chujeana Kanjobal

Chuj, Jacalteco, Kanjobal, Motozintleco and Tojolobal

Quicheana mameana

Avocado, Cakchiquel, Ixil, Kekchí, Mam, Pokomam, Pokomchí and Quiché.

Mayan language

All are variants of the Mayan language are descendants of a language dating back 5,000 years called Protomaya, which originated in Mesoamerica and was divided into several very similar Mayan languages. Although this was very different from what we know today, much of its pronunciation is still preserved.

All of these changes occurred in various geographic factors, human displacements, as well as the time factor.

The Mayan language is based on monosyllabic morphemes, ie words or elements for their formation. In this language the genre does not exist, although there are preferences to denote an animated, sacred or inanimate genre. Articles do not exist either and for example many of their verbs also work like pronouns.

As in Spanish, May is composed of consonants and vowels which have two tones, one high and one low. In addition, they can be glottalized; they are so called because the sound of these is made with the glottis, which is an opening in the larynx where the vocal cords are and are written with this orthographic sign (‘), called glottal.

Although it seems to be a difficult language to learn today, the truth is that May can be easily mastered. On the Internet you can find several dictionaries in May in Spanish created by educational institutions such as the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY).

So to start practicing we have chosen some very simple phrases that we could learn and so you can surprise everyone who accompanies you on your next trip by doing somewhere where you have the Mayan language.

Mayan language
Mayan language

If you liked this blog, share your comments and tell us what was the thing that surprised you most about this language.


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